Posts Tagged ‘game-based learning’
I tweeted this resource last week and have shared it with my ICT class as we prepare for sessions on game-based learning.
The video is not about game-based learning. Instead, its focus is on the gamers of today and tomorrow, and how they hope to see gaming evolve.
What caught my attention was the statistic that 75% of the respondents would like to see games in classrooms and for learning. Actually, this shouldn’t be too surprising given how the 2011 Horizon Report for K-12 predicts that game-based learning has a two to three year time-to-adoption period.
I am ready if they are and I am doing my best to prepare teachers who are ready too!
What I like about these games is not only the emotions that they generate but also the complex thinking and the perspective-taking that are required to be good at the game.
Many thanks to Yeu Ann for sharing this video with me.
Ah, Angry Birds. The game that stayed at the top of the Apple Apps Store chart for about 9 months. The game that spawned plush toys, mobile device covers, food products, etc.
Now the creative people behind the T-mobile ads have leveraged on these furious fowl to sell their own products.
I’ve heard of teachers tweeting and/or blogging about how they use Angry Birds for lessons. Most would think immediately of Math or Physics.
But it can also be used to spark and sustain language lessons (digital storytelling, story development, creation of tips and tricks file), social, ethics or world studies (the birds are blowing themselves up for their cause!), and problem-solving strategies (what do you do when you get stuck or want to get a higher score?).
Hmm, I think I just thought of something to add to my courses and workshops!
I am not an alum of U Penn, but it blipped twice on my radar last week.
The second was Denzel Washington’s commencement speech at U Penn. It took more than a minute, but had the storytelling elements that justified its duration.
He messed about for about 7.5 minutes. Then he talked about falling forward from about the 8-minute mark onwards.
At about the 13-minute mark, he got to the crux of his message:
Every graduate here today has the training and talent to succeed, but do you have the guts to fail?… If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.
We discourage failure in most schooling contexts.
Here in Singapore, failure is not just a social stigma but a tattoo that can scar you for life. Not many people talk about learning from failure or the value of failure.
I normally discuss this with my classes in the context of game-based learning. After my learners experience game-based learning and fail over and over again, they see for themselves how important failure is.
In game-based learning, failure can be motivating, it is the means to success and it can be catalyst for self-directed or collaborative learning.
It is about productive failure. It is about falling forward!
I think that most educators become educators not for short-term gain but for long term impact. We realize that our impact is often not felt next week, next month or even next year. Our impact is also mediated by many other factors, so if something good were to result from a move on our part, we can only claim partial credit.
I was reminded of all that over a pleasant email exchange with a former trainee and Facebook wall postings of some current ones.
The current trainees are in their third year of study. One of them reposted a photo that they took in their the first year of some of them learning about video games-based learning at the MxL. I did not think that it was possible to get nostalgic over such an event. But I guess when you compare that experience with the hum-drum of what they are experiencing now, the past seems heavenly.
More recently a former trainee who took my ICT course two years ago tried implementing game-based learning principles in his own classes. He was pleasantly surprised that his students not only took the experience like fish to water but that they seemed to learn better too. I wasn’t surprised at all, since you are just putting the fish back in their preferred environment. Doing otherwise is like putting fish on a counter and ordering them to swim.
But I digress. It’s great to hear from my former trainees, particular those who actually try to push pedagogy. Few try to be different. Even fewer write back to let me know the direct impact that I had on their development. To those few I say: You make my day.
[image source, used under CC licence]
This blog entry by Keri-Lee Beasley, an educator at the United World College of South East Asia, is one of the most thorough and hyperlinked. In it, she provides an overview of the benefits of educational gaming, i.e., literacy skills, critical thinking and social learning opportunities.
It’s something I will add to the quick reading list when I resume facilitating my educational gaming classes or when I conduct workshops for teachers later this year.
The new year is just days away. Just about everyone who is someone seems to be looking back and writing about the last year (or the last ten if they are really somebody).
Larry Magid is decidedly the latter and wrote about what a happening decade it’s been since Y2K. His piece, along with the 2000 video I highlighted last week, remind me of the exponential times we seem to be living in. So much has happened technologically in the last ten years!
Practically every system has embraced technology out of necessity or taken advantage of it as an opportunity. Practically every system except education. Not just here in Singapore but in practically any other industrialized country.
Emphasis on the industrial part because our schooling system is still largely modelled on that and has a hard time keeping up with the times (my magazine article, Classroom 2.0, on the topic). Mobile phone use is banned in most schools here and current Web 2.0 tools are not yet the mainstay (hey, they might be fashionable when Web 3.0 rolls by!). Over the last few years, various RSS feeds and tweets have clued me into how school districts in other countries filter out social networking tools like Facebook or collaborative writing tools like wikis. Contrast this with the non-school lives of our students or the work lives of their parents where mobile and Web 2.0 technologies are not extras but are enablers instead.
Schooling is still overly teacher-centric and the go-to tools increasingly irrelevant (think control-oriented LMS and the so-called “interactive” white boards). Yes, there is a time and place for such technology-mediated pedagogies. But, as I have said before, that should not be all the time and always the case.
To create a balance, newer pedagogies like game-based learning and learning theories like connectivism need to be explored and tested. These approaches provide experiences and contexts for learning content as well as opportunities to hone critical, creative and independent thinking. And all these will better prepare our children for their futures, not our past.
Yes, I make broad, sweeping statements here. But I mention them to highlight the need for broad, sweeping change. Thankfully, I know that I am not alone in my sentiments. While I do my part in teacher preparation in NIE, I communicate and work with folks in the front line in schools and in the other ivory tower that is the MOE. Together we might shape the next ten years to better suit the needs of our learners.
Tom Barrett asks if the label “Games Based Learning” is useful and posts some preliminary thoughts on the topic.
In short, he points out that game-based learning (GBL) might be useful a) to those who know what it means and b) to compartmentalize it for those who don’t. But he also worries that putting it in a separate box might not allow viewers to see the big picture.
I am not worried about putting it in the box. I am more worried that teachers don’t take it out of that box (or don’t know that it exists) and don’t use it appropriately. This is why I get my trainee teachers to experience and evaluate educational gaming.
I also have two more thoughts to add to the pot (or box as might be the case). First, teachers, particularly those in physical education, have been using game-based learning for the longest time, so it is not new. The term GBL seems to have evolved to mean computer and video game-based learning now.
Second, you don’t have to play video games to apply game-based learning strategies. GBL is about providing experiences and even tests before providing content (if any). GBL is about making learning fun, interesting and self-propelling. GBL is about giving learning a clear purpose by constant problem-solving and learning content as and when needed.
So what’s in a name like GBL? A lot more than meets the eye.
In concluding game-based learning with my teacher trainees this week, I mentioned how they might think of innovative ways to integrate console and Flash-based games into teaching and learning activities.
If a school was strapped for cash or on the conservative side, then I urged my trainees to consider game-based strategies in their teaching. You don’t have to play games to use game-based strategies!
While we muddle about with the tired, traditional and increasingly irrelevant ways of teaching, here is news of one school in New York called Quest 2 Learn that “uses the underlying design principles of games to create highly immersive, game-like learning experiences” for students. Their intake starts in Fall 2009. Does anyone want to sign up? Do they take teachers in too?
Many thanks to Carolyn for the initial news about Quest 2 Learn.
My teacher trainees maintain reflection blogs and I have been wondering if my strategy of using a game-based approach to “teach” game-based learning was having an impact. Thanks to RSS feeds, I got to step inside the heads of my trainees to see for myself.
Based on those who have reflected already, I’d say yes. Some wrote long entries and others were more succinct. But I think that they wrote about what was meaningful to them.
As an instructor, reading these blogs brings me much satisfaction and frustration. Satisfaction because I see how my trainees have learned things both planned and unplanned. Frustration because I spot disturbing mindsets or lingering misconceptions. But at least I know these exist because they share them with me and I can address them, if necessary, one on one.
So here are a few choice blog links in case you are interested, dear reader. I was happy to see how thoughts and perspectives shifted, but the best ones were those who blogged regularly so I could see the their thoughts in motion. Yvonne and Eunice were examples of this.
Like Keiko and Jillian, many of my bloggers shared their shifts in mindsets toward the end of their gaming experiences. They typically cited how their perspectives on games changed from something irrelevant or only for fun to something potentially powerful and meaningful for learning.
Pushing the envelope further, Mei Ping and Wei Li drew knowledge gleaned from other classes or other experiences to talk about subconscious learning and the hidden curriculum. Bloggers like Mun Ling and Jacklyn drew threads through the demo presentations, Gee’s thoughts, their readings, and/or their experiences. Seeing how they were actively connecting the dots on their own made me pump my fist in the air and go “Yes!”
Finally, to those of you like Jacklyn who bought a Wii as a result of playing at the MxL, I must say this: I should get a commission from Nintendo for providing free advertising!